From Prolonged Winter to Second Warmest May on Record

By Russell Russ

Once again, May was Norfolk’s transition month into summer, although this year it seemingly happened in just the span of a day or two. Temperatures went from a low of 34 degrees on May 1 (with snowfall on April 30) to a high of 85 on May 2, then to a record high of 88 on May 3. After a cool and snowy April, all of a sudden it was summertime. Then, temperatures went back to normal or a little above normal for the remainder of the month with another temperature rise during the month’s last week. The weather on Memorial Day was beautiful. It is always nice to have good weather for the parades and holiday festivities.

May’s low temperature of 34 degrees was observed on May 1 and the high of 88 degrees was observed on May 3. With an average monthly mean temperature of 59.8 degrees, it was 4.9 degrees above normal. May’s monthly mean temperature was nearly 21 degrees warmer than April’s. This May was Norfolk’s second warmest in the last 87 years. The 88 degrees on May 3 (was 83 in 1942) and the 84 on May 15 (was 83 in 1932) both set daily record high temperature marks. Norfolk’s warmest May occurred in 2015 with a temperature of 61.8 degrees, the coldest was in 1967 with 46.8.

The total precipitation recorded for the month was 3.32 inches, 1.03 inches below normal. Through May, the total precipitation for the year was 22.49 inches. The last three months were below normal for precipitation, but thanks to above normal amounts in January and February we are currently 1.84 inches above normal for the 2018 calendar year.

There was no snowfall in May. Norfolk’s 2018 snowfall total through May was 91.1 inches. This was 25.8 inches above normal through May and is 1.3 inches above normal for the entire calendar year. We still have October, November and December to add to our 2018 snowfall total. The Winter Snowfall Season concluded in May and the final total for the 2017-2018 season was 107.5 inches, 17.7 inches above normal. It was not record breaking, but it was a snowy winter.

The big weather story from May was the severe weather that rolled through the Northeast during the afternoon of May 15. The strong thunderstorms that hit Norfolk produced vivid lightning, a burst of near-golf ball sized hail and nearly two inches of rain – all in little over an hour. There was some local hail damage reported, but thankfully there was minimal local wind damage. Not the case for many other parts of the state. The final official assessment was that Connecticut was hit that afternoon with straight-line wind damage, four tornados and multiple locations received severe hail damage. Additional severe reports came from eastern Pennsylvania and eastern New York. Norfolk was fortunate that day. It has been nearly 30 years since Connecticut has seen such widespread severe summer thunderstorm damage.

An early look at June’s weather through mid-month shows that temperatures were running about 2 degrees cooler than normal. There were several mornings with low temperatures in the low to mid 40’s. A little chilly for June, but a nice stretch of summerlike weather in the forecast for the latter half of the month will surely bring the monthly average temperature up. After a rainy first week it turned dry, but all in all, precipitation was about average through mid-month. It did seem to be a very good pollen year, or bad for the allergy sufferers. Perhaps the dry conditions just as the trees were ready to release their pollen this year compounded the effects. The clouds of yellow and haze in the air, mostly from pine pollen, were very noticeable June 9-12. With the pollen thankfully gone it must mean that summer has arrived.